Physical Copies Of Birth & Death Certificates Will Be Discontinued
Singaporeans have always been issued physical birth or death certificates to keep when upon registration.
However, these will soon be issued only in digital form.
For the convenience of loved ones, they’ll be easily downloadable on their devices.
Digital birth & death certificates make registration processes simpler
In a media release on Sunday (8 May), the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) announced the discontinuation of physical birth and death certificates from 29 May.
It’s part of an effort to make birth and death registration processes simpler, they said. The move is also part of the Government’s drive to streamline and digitalise services to serve citizens better.
Just how will digitalising these documents make things easier, Singaporeans may ask.
Currently, parents of newborns can visit the hospital where their child was born to register the birth or do it at the Registry of Births & Deaths in the ICA Building.
Upon receiving the physical birth certificate from the ICA, a fee of S$18 is charged, while hospitals may charge an additional administrative fee.
Similarly, the next of kin may register a death in person at the hospital, a Neighbourhood Police Post (NPP) or ICA Building — but only after they get a Certificate of the Cause of Death (CCOD) from a doctor.
The physical death certificate issued can be used to handle matters related to the death.
No more trips to register births & deaths
With the issuance of digital birth and death certificates, relatives no longer have to make a trip down to a physical counter to register the event.
Thus, hospitals and the ICA Building will stop accepting in-person registrations for birth.
Likewise, the counters for death registration at hospitals, NPPs and the ICA Building will cease operations from 29 May.
Digital birth certificates issued after registering via LifeSG app
From 29 May, parents must use the LifeSG app to register the birth of a child born in Singapore.
They must do this within 42 days of the birth, and pay S$18 for a digital birth certificate to cover the cost of the process.
Upon notification, parents can download the digital cert from the ICA website or MyICA Mobile app. This is what it’ll look like:
Parents must download the digital birth certificate within 90 days. It can be saved on their personal devices after downloading.
Deaths automatically registered with ICA
For deaths, the process might even be easier.
From 29 May, the doctor will certify a death online, and it’ll automatically be registered with the ICA without the next of kin having to do anything.
The ICA system will then immediately generate a digital death certificate.
All the next of kin has to do is get the certificate number from the doctor or medical staff, and they can download the cert from a Government website called My Legacy. This is what it’ll look like:
Unlike the time limit for birth certs, relatives will have only 30 days to download the digital death certificate.
The digital death cert allows next of kin to apply for a permit to bury or cremate the deceased, or authorise somebody like a funeral director to do it.
By freeing the next of kin from applying for a death cert, it’s hoped that they’ll have more time to manage other matters during their bereavement.
QR codes on certificates to verify authenticity
Observant readers may have noticed that the digital certs have QR codes.
This is an additional benefit of digitalisation, as government agencies and other official organisations will be able to scan the QR code linked to an ICA system to verify the certificate’s authenticity.
To ensure security, data protection and privacy measures — like two-factor authentication (2FA) using SingPass — will be in place to prevent unauthorised access and data loss or theft.
All info will be stored in the Government’s database, including that from the LifeSG app and My Legacy website.
Help available for those who need it
ICA acknowledges that some Singaporeans might be unable to go online and need someone to help them go digital.
These citizens can call a temporary 24-hour hotline at 6589 8707 to help with queries relating to the new process.
They may also seek assistance in person at the ICA Building or ServiceSG Centres in Our Tampines Hub, Nee Soon Central Community Club, Kampong Chai Chee Community Club and The Frontier Community Club.
Part of Smart Nation initiative
Some Singaporeans might miss the physical certificates as they provide tangible proof of a birth or death.
However, the digital certs have their advantages and are in keeping with Singapore’s Smart Nation initiative.
Thus, we’ll have to learn to work with the new system and hope teething problems, if any, are kept to a minimum.
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Featured image by MS News.
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